Archive for Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tax rebate program gets nod

March 1, 2007

The Douglas County Commission Monday agreed unanimously to support Eudora's ---- and the county's first ---- downtown revitalization rebate program.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty approached the commission after gaining approval earlier in the year from both the city and Eudora USD 491 on what will be an incremental tax rebate program. The program will initially run for three years, Beatty said.

The rebate program will give downtown property owners the opportunity to earn a tax rebate for substantial improvements made to their buildings, Beatty said.

"These are not nickel and dime repairs," Beatty said.

To cash in, a property owner would need to first apply for the grant, and make at least a $5,000 improvement to their property's assessed valuation.

After the owner makes the improvements, both the city and county will inspect the property. If the improvements meet the conditions on the application, the property owner would be reimbursed for 90 percent of the increased property value on the next year's taxes. In the following year, the reimbursement rate will drop 10 percent. The rate will drop 10 percent each year for the nine-year scope of the program.

Beatty told the commission the tax rebate policy would be part of a package of programs meant to improve Eudora's downtown corridor, which runs on Main Street from Seventh to Ninth streets.

The tax rebate program will run in conjunction with a transportation enhancement grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation awarded to the city last year, a street overlay project paid for by the county, and a stormwater improvement project funded by the city, Beatty said.

The overall downtown improvements are valued at $1.5 million, Beatty said.

The district for the tax rebate program will also include Elm and Maple streets, she said.

During Beatty's presentation, County Commissioner Charles Jones asked if the city had planned for traffic arising from a planned Interstate 70 interchange coming down Leavenworth County Road 1.

Beatty said the city has plans to draft a long-term plan and a long-range traffic flow study by the end of the year.

After Beatty's presentation, Jones said he supported the tax rebate program, but wanted the city to keep the county informed on its plans to minimize the traffic impact from the I-70 Interchange.

"I'm good with it," Jones said.

"I hope it works," County Commissioner Chairman Bob Johnson said.

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